Decreasing Breast Milk Supply after the Loss of Your Baby

***If you find yourself here because you have just lost your baby, let me start by saying I’m so sorry for your loss, I have been there and my heart goes out to you. It is the worst pain imaginable. You’re not alone though, there are so many women who have walked in your shoes. If you ever need to talk, email me. I’m almost always around.***

When you lose a baby in the 2nd trimester what most people don’t realize is that your milk comes in.

Within a day or two my milk had come in full force with Elena. I knew it would happen but I was still a little in shock and of course upset.

It seemed like my body was mocking me. It knew that I had just given birth and therefore needed milk for my baby but it didn’t know NOT to have my water break at 18 weeks?! What kind of crap is that?!

I digress. Ever since I lost Elena I’ve joined quite a few loss groups. One group in particular gets new members almost every single week (my pPROM group) and inevitably the topic of breast milk coming in comes up and without fail someone says not to let warm water run over them in the shower. Another thing that always pops up? To wear a tight sports bra and essentially bind your breasts.

Both things are incorrect.

After hearing this advice being given yet again tonight I’ve decided to compile a list of things you can/shouldn’t do to help when you’re milk comes in and you’re dealing with the grief of losing your baby.

  • DO: Let warm water run over your breasts in the shower. Yes it will cause you to leak but it will cause relief. It will NOT stimulate your breasts enough to produce more milk.
  • DO: Express milk, including pumping. The key is to make sure you’re pumping or expressing just enough to stop the discomfort. If you pump until you’re empty that’s when stimulation occurs.
  • DON’T: Bind your breasts. Doing so can cause plugged ducts and mastitis.
  • DO: Wear a supportive bra.
  • DO: Drink No More Milk Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby. The key ingredient is Sage.
  • DO: Drink as much as you want. Limiting liquids will not stop breast milk production.
  • DO: Put cabbage leafs in your bra. Once they have wilted put in new leafs!
  • DO: Ice your beasts to help with engorgement

Other Options

  • Starting a birth control whose main ingredient is Estrogen as it will decrease milk supply
  • Sudafed with regular use can help decrease milk supply

I hope this has helped some Moms and as I mentioned before I’m always available via email.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m a professional aunt (my name almost everywhere else online is Antof9), so I have no idea how this actually feels, physically or emotionally. But I feel like we’re new friends and so it doesn’t seem right not to acknowledge your loss. It seems weird and rude, so here’s what I’d say if we were having coffee.

    I’m so sorry about Elena, and I’m so sorry she’s not here on this earth with you right now. I’m so impressed that you’d post this, because I have several friends who have gone through this and it seems just about the saddest thing one could go through. And yet, you’ve chosen to use your pain and loss to help others – in a very tangible way. It reminds me of an old story I read long ago (Reader’s Digest, I think) about a neighbor who shined the shoes of everyone in the entry of a grieving family’s home. It was lovely. When someone dies, there is so much emotional and spiritual stuff going on that it’s really hard to serve someone tangibly. And yet, if we can think of ways to do that, it is such a big deal to the grief-stricken!

    You have, in this excellent list. No mother without a baby to feed wants to keep producing milk. This is such a Good Thing to write. Well done.

    • Christa says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to acknowledge Elena, it means the world to me!

      I’m still struggling daily but am still in a better place than I was when I first lost her. Every time I hear of another mother suffering this loss I can’t help but think about when my milk came back in. It was heart wrenching and I just wanted to make sure that other Moms had a resource for stopping their milk supply 🙂

      Thank you again!

      • Jenna wood says

        I lost my baby girl I had her at 20 weeks and 4 days. My milk supply came in and it’s hurting and making me not able to sleep. I just really need someone to talk to I have a amazing support system but none of these people know what I’m going through. I’m trying to not get depressed but it’s hard. I need some safe and good ways to cope with her loss. That doesn’t make me blame myself for this. The biggest thing I say is I was her mommy why didn’t my body protect her better that was my job why did my body fail me on the biggest job I was ever given. I got to hold her but she wasn’t alive when she was born. Please anyone who has been through this email me. I have a sweet 2 year old boy I have to be here for. But it’s really hard I feel like i picked my son over my daughter. Thanks for reading my email is gatorgirl922@gmail.com

  2. says

    This is a great list and I’m sure there are others out there who would greatly appreciate it. I’m so sorry that you lost Elena. I don’t even have the right words that would do justice to your loss and grief. I just wanted to thank you for this post. For your honesty. I know something about feeling as if your body has betrayed you. Not in the way you did, but that line stuck a chord.
    This is my first time here. Nice to meet you.
    Megan

    • Christa says

      Thank you for taking to the time to comment and acknowledge Elena, it means so much to me.

      I’m sorry your body has betrayed you too, it’s an awful feeling.

  3. Doreen Amony says

    Hello Christa, nice to meet you and am so sorry about your loss. Am going through it right now so I know how it feels. Am so glad I came across this. Two weeks back I gave birth and after two hours my baby passed away…While trying to get over all the shock of having to let that beautiful gal go forever, there is milk, alot of it in my breasts. Just when am grieving about not knowing what to do about it, I came across your list. Thank u very much for sacrifising to share this with others. There’s alot more of us out there and strunded and not moving on. Thank you again

    • Christa says

      Hi Doreen, I’m so sorry for the loss of your baby girl. It’s the hardest thing a mother will ever go through. I’m so glad that this list will be able to help you. Let me know if you have any questions or if you need to talk! I get it.

  4. Gabby says

    Hello.. I’m sorry for the loss of ur daughter I too am going threw thins. I lost my son on the last tue and have birth to him on thur the 20 th.. It’s the hardest thing to do.. His name was max and he was 19 weeks and 5 days . I just now started to make milk and was upset when I noticed my milk coming out. This is my second son and I breast fed Gavin my now one in a half year old . I didn’t really know what to do about this new milk supply so this web site will deffenetly help me. Thank u for posting this
    To help other that have gone threw a loss and need support.

    • Christa says

      Hi Gabby,

      I’m so glad you found this site in your time of need and I’m so sorry for the loss of your son Max. I bet he was so handsome <3.

      Let me know if you need any more help advise as far as your milk coming in and for baby loss resources unfortunately I have accumulated quite a lot of resources on that subject :/

  5. Lauren says

    Hi, thanks I’ve found the information very helpful. I found out my baby had died at my 18 week scan just this Thursday gone. I was induced and gave birth Friday, they said my milk shouldn’t come in, but now 2 days after given birth my breast have become very hard and sore. I will use the tips you talked about, but how long did u find it took for them to settle down? I’m just hoping its soon..thanks

    • Christa says

      Hi Lauren,

      I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts & prayers are with you. It probably took mine about two weeks from what I remember but they were never really uncomfortable, however I had a different situation since my oldest was still nursing and he helped me to wean gently. The suggestions above should help and you should be feeling better as far as your milk/breasts go very quickly.

  6. Jenna wood says

    Jenna wood on February 18, 2014 at 4:22 am said: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I lost my baby girl I had her at 20 weeks and 4 days. My milk supply came in and it’s hurting and making me not able to sleep. I just really need someone to talk to I have a amazing support system but none of these people know what I’m going through. I’m trying to not get depressed but it’s hard. I need some safe and good ways to cope with her loss. That doesn’t make me blame myself for this. The biggest thing I say is I was her mommy why didn’t my body protect her better that was my job why did my body fail me on the biggest job I was ever given. I got to hold her but she wasn’t alive when she was born. Please anyone who has been through this email me. I have a sweet 2 year old boy I have to be here for. But it’s really hard I feel like i picked my son over my daughter. Thanks for reading my email is gatorgirl922@gmail.com

  7. Sophie says

    Hi all, I was searching for a different kind of picture when I saw the one which lead me here about how to decrease your milk supply after the loss of a baby… WOW I thought there is actually someone else who has experienced this. Only my little girl Willow died when she was 6 1/2 months old and was being breast feed every 2 hours throughout the day and night. When Willow died she died pretty suddenly and I was completely dropped by my heath visitors who I was still getting visits from prior to her death. I was totally alone. Luckily my instincts kicked in and I expressed for quiet a while, it was the only thing which connected me to her and made me feel like a mother still. My milk turned green at the beginning which completely freaked me out, things like “it know’s she’s dead so it’s dead too” went through my mind but I am sure it was probably the medication they gave me to cope in those initial weeks. I would express in the shower and watch as the milk flowed out of me, buckets of the stuff. There would of been a time I would of become a wet nurse and I would of loved that, it felt like such a waste to see this beautiful stuff washing away down the drain, especially as I knew how powerful it was. So I rescued a cat to keep me company, Neil. It was love at first sight, big white and black boy, stealer of my heart and we spent many an hour just enjoying each others touch and companionship, I decided to give him some of my milk, see what he thought. He loved it and so this helped again as I would watch him lap it off the dish and know it was doing him good and I was being useful to something else again. It took me about 9 months my mother says to stop expressing, it tailed off gradually. I would just give a tug in the end and see a drip and eventually nothing. That was a sad day for me. Breastfeeding my baby for those few precious months was the most amazing experience of my life, I just wish there had been more support for me concerning the loss of this relationship by my health team. Instead of seeing health visitors and doctor I was immediately seeing counsellors and bereavement supporters, one hell of a shock! For those of you who’s darling ones never made it out of your lovely tums and your milk comes in, consider doing something with your milk. It’s good for the skin, have a little drink yourself. Blot some on paper and keep it in a locket, it might be something you can keep which would give you comfort. I don’t know, there’s not much comfort really is there, the pain never goes you just get on with your life if you can and do more and more positive things. The hardest thing anyone can go through and I salute each and everyone of you. Xx

    • Christa Marie says

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious little girl. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I love the idea of saving it in a locket. I wish I would have done something like that!

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